I’ve repeatedly drawn attention to the many ritual murders, or killings for ritual purposes, in Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country with a population exceeding 200 million souls. These ritualistic crimes are locally known as ‘money rituals‘. (Warning: the preceding link leads to a video with graphic details of ritual killings).
The following post is about the published worries of an individual, Safiyanu Ladan. He was so emotional about the spate of ritual murders in his country that when the new year 2023 was approaching he decided to write an open article which was first published by a leading Nigerian newspaper, the Daily Trust.
Safiyanu Ladan writes from Zaria, Kaduna State, and openly associates ritualistic murders to prominent businessmen and politicians. In the article he dwells on a ritual murder committed by a prominent businessman in Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, in the north of the country.
It’s a well-known fact that in Nigeria and other countries ritual murders and elections are linked, with the number of alleged and confirmed cases of ritual murder increasing during election campaigns. Nigeria faces national elections in February this year (next month) when the people of Nigeria go to the polls to elect a new president and National Assembly. (webmaster FVDK).
I feel compelled to register my concern on the rising spate of killings across the country supposedly by ritualists as the 2023 elections draw closer. Some politicians who are desperate to win the election have always resorted to these uncanny acts in a bid to attain power at all costs. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these […]
The post On the rising incidents of ritual killings appeared first on Daily Trust
I feel compelled to register my concern on the rising spate of killings across the country supposedly by ritualists as the 2023 elections draw closer. Some politicians who are desperate to win the election have always resorted to these uncanny acts in a bid to attain power at all costs.
Unfortunately, the perpetrators of these devilish acts have always gone free. It’s only on rare occasions that some arrests are made and after the suspects are ceremoniously paraded by the police one will never hear about the case again.
In January last year, Aminu Baba, a prominent businessman selling vehicles at Aminchi Motors, Gusau Zamfara State, after his arrest by the police, confessed to have eaten and sold human parts to some unknown persons.
In a video footage, the visibly unapologetic Aminu’s accomplice who was arrested alongside him had admitted the gruesome killing of a 9-year-old boy whose body parts were removed and sold to Aminu for N500,000.
It has been one year since such an unfortunate incident occurred, and the suspects and the police have promised to take them to court at the end of their investigation. The outcome of the court’s judgment on this heinous act is not yet available in the public domain.
Incidents such as this are being reported by the media and after initial reactions, the matter will just die off.
The unrelenting act of ritualists inflicting harm on unsuspecting members of society is of great concern, hence the need for security agencies to double their efforts in order to restore people’s confidence.
It is pertinent to note that the life of a human being is sacred, and as such, nobody should feel threatened that their life might be taken away in whatever form except according to laid down processes.
Safiyanu Ladan wrote from Zaria via email@example.com
The post On the rising incidents of ritual killings appeared first on Daily Trust
Two months ago I posted on this site a cry from Nigeria, ‘Let the carnage of ritual killings stop‘. Unrelenting, the editors of the Leadership, a leading Nigerian newspaper, again draw attention to the alarming rate of ritual murders and related crimes in the country. I have repeatedly done the same on this place.
This site is entirely devoted to the crime of ritual murders, based on superstition and belief in witchcraft, fed by an insatiable greed for power, wealth or a good health, and facilitated by a weak enforcement of the rule of law, impunity, and in the worst cases, the connivance of people in high places who are put in this position by the people they are supposed to protect. Ritual murders are a flagrant and intolerable violation of the human rights of the victims, whereas a sovereign state is obliged, often by its constitution, to protect its citizens.
It is sheer impossible to report and react here on all ritual murders and other money-ritual related crimes which are surfacing and are being reported and published in various newspapers. It goes without saying that an unknown number of ritual murders are never discovered.
In the past six months I have collected numerous articles on ritual murders in at least 15 Nigerian states: Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Delta, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers (which I have not yet been published on this site), although I have reported frequently on money-ritual related crimes in these states (from 2018 onwards). Moreover, I reported various cases of ritual murders and related crimes in other states: Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasawara, Niger, Taraba. Hence, altogether, 26 out of Nigeria’s 36 states. When consulting the general folder ‘Nigeria’ the reader will find other articles, of a more general nature, on the scourge of ritual killing in Nigeria, the Yahoo boys, mob justice, and other atrocities.
The seemingly recent rise of ritual killings in Nigeria has been mentioned here earlier. I only wish to refer to a 2014 article which I published in December last year. In it it was alleged that ritual killings were everywhere in Nigeria. Older reports of ritual murders as far back as 2001 can be found here.
It must be emphasized, however, that nowadays an increasing number of Nigerian raise their voices against these outdated and revolting practices which are ritualistic murders (see the folder ‘Nigeria voices’), among whom the editors of the Leadership newspaper, who are to be commended for the article below (webmaster FVDK).
The Scourge Of Ritual Killings In Nigeria
Published: May 10, 2021 By: Leadership, Nigeria – Monday Column
Iniobong Umoren was a young woman in her early 20’s who lived in Uyo the Akwa Ibom State capital. She shared, on Twitter, her need for a job, and one Twitter user named Uduak Akpan asked her for a private chat concerning her application. According to police reports, Mr Akpan asked Ms Umoren to meet her at a particular location in Uyo.
When the unsuspecting lady got there, the sinister man raped her, killed her, and buried her in a shallow grave. Unfortunately for the serial rapist and murderer, the lady gave her friend the phone number of the person who invited her for an interview. This number led to the apprehension of the culprit after the lady was declared missing for days.
There were reports that Ms Umoren’s gruesome murder was not just a case of rape and murder but that it also involved ritual killing. Mr Akpan’s entire family is said to be involved in the barbaric business of ritual killings.
Two weeks ago, a report indicated that in Kwara State, a next-door neighbour allegedly murdered a groom-to-be for ritual purposes. According to the account in Vanguard, the deceased, who was said to be a devout Christian, did not know that his neighbour with whom he used to eat together was a serial killer and ritualist who has twice served jail terms. This wolf-in-sheep-clothing neighbour allegedly killed his victim, removed some sensitive body parts, poured acid on his remains for speedy decay to prevent it from fouling the area.
Last February in Port Harcourt, a suspected ritual killer was arrested while attempting to sacrifice a nine-year-old girl in the Ibaa community in Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State. According to a report in Punch newspapers, the girl’s parents had raised the alarm over her sudden disappearance after she went to dispose of refuse in a nearby bush. It happened that the suspect had taken the minor to an abandoned compound, tied her with white cloths, applied white clay on her body with a coffin already stationed for the ritual purpose. He was in the process of performing the ritual when he ran out of luck.
In 2019, Port Harcourt made international headlines in ritual killings with the case of Gracious David-West, Nigeria’s most celebrated ritual killer in recent times. From July to September 2019, David-West killed at least 15 women, mainly in the Rivers State capital city. After his arrest, he confessed to at least 15 murders.
Official statistics indicate that there has been an increase in the number of missing persons all over the country in recent times. Some are found, while others are not. There is speculation that majority of those who disappear perpetually without a trace are often victims of ritual killings.
Incidents of ritual killings have assumed an alarming rate in Nigeria. There seems to be little or no effort by concerned government agencies to checkmate the trend. We expect that such cruel and barbaric act would no longer exist in our society given our level of exposure, enlightenment, and civilisation . Ironically, as our communities seem to be getting more religious given the proliferation of churches and mosques in all nooks and crannies of the country, it seems these heinous acts are increasing as the quest for filthy lucre pervades our society.
It is disheartening to point out that as developed societies invest in science and technology to keep abreast with a dynamic world, ours are still stuck in the mistaken belief that sacrificing human blood is the surest route to wealth, safety, and protection.
No doubt, ritual killings are performed to obtain human body parts for rituals, potions, and charms. Ritualists search for ‘human parts’ at the request of herbalists, who require these to make sacrifices or prepare various magical potions to give power and wealth to an individual. Some people engage in ritual killings to obtain charms that would make them invincible and protect them from business failure, illness, accidents, and spiritual attacks. Whether they succeed or not is open to debate. However, it is not easy to prove a link between such sacrifices and financial success or any type of success empirically.
Amongst a large group of Nigerians, including the well-educated and people from different faiths and social backgrounds, there is a strong belief in the supernatural and the effectiveness of rituals. This belief has a direct correlation to the prevalence of ritual killings. It is a well-known fact that some elite in society indulge in ritual killings. Some people apprehended for ritual killings, and witch doctors who perform the sacrifices accused politicians, government officials and wealthy businessmen as their sponsors. They are said to use human beings for rituals to sustain their affluence and remain in positions of power.
Therefore, it is not surprising that there are usually increased cases of mysterious disappearances and ritual killings during elections. Some desperate, fetish and superstitious politicians always consult herbalists and native doctors during elections to help them overcome their opponents. These spiritualists usually demand human heads and other body parts to perform hedonistic rituals.
Given the rate of increase of ritual killings, no one is immune from becoming a victim. But some people are at greater risk. People with mental illnesses and virgins are unique targets as the ritualists allegedly believe that their eccentrics and purity make for a more viable sacrifice. Also, people living with albinism have equally become victims of ritual killings, fuelled by the belief that their ‘body-parts’ could allegedly make one wealthy or prolong one’s life.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand the mind of the ritual killer. How can someone take another person’s life in the quest for wealth, protection, and power? More worrisome is that sometimes it is not just an issue of a depraved mind but also a depraved group of minds.
Sometime in 2017, Lagos State, the country’s commercial hub, was gripped by Badoo ritual killings. According to news reports, over 50 people were killed by a Badoo Boys group, who moved about with an air of invincibility until the Nigerian Police routed them.
The Vanguard newspaper reported about the activities of the group thus: “Before the raid and subsequent arrest of over 200 suspected members of the cult group by the Police with the support of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress, OPC local vigilante and the Neighbourhood Watch Corps, Badoo Boys had been unleashing an orgy of killings, during which they crush the skulls of their victims. Their modus operandi included storming victims’ residences while they are asleep”.
People suspected that they usually hypnotize their victims, as none of them had ever been conscious of their presence. After that, they would smash the heads of their victims with a grinding stone and use a handkerchief to clean the blood and brain before leaving the scene.
During interrogation, one of the suspects confirmed that “they sold each handkerchief stained with blood for N500,000. He further revealed that they were mere errand boys for rich politicians within and outside Lagos state. But in their case, the blood and semen-stained handkerchief were used to prepare the spiritual defence for some wealthy Nigerians.”
What are the root causes of ritual killings? How can society tackle this menace? What role should the government and relevant agencies play in ameliorating the negative impact of these dastardly acts?
Poverty and economic hardship in the land are reasons for ritual killings. However, these are not justifiable reasons to commit ritual murder. Impunity encourages ritualists to commit murders because they believe they will not be apprehended or punished.
Another reason for ritual murders is the collapse in our moral values, ignorance and superstition, and lack of an adequate punishment system. We should also consider poverty and unemployment as a significant risk factor. If Nigerians have equal opportunities to earn income legitimately, there will be a reduction in horrific crimes such as banditry, human killings for ritual, and terrorism.
Besides, the inordinate quest and pursuit of quick wealth are said to be driving some people to resort to the use of human parts for rituals. And some usual suspects include fake clerics and herbalists who carry out the ritual practices for their clients.
Some analysts have recommended that government should investigate suspected pastors and imams and checkmate their activities because what they do under cover of being religious leaders sometimes leaves much to be desired.
o curb the increase in ritual killings, the government should thoroughly explore the intelligence-gathering approach and prosecute arrested culprits. Timely arrest and prosecution of arrested suspects would serve as a deterrent to anybody contemplating perpetrating ritual killing. Record of successful prosecution of ritualist is not in the public domain. When there are not consequences for deviant behavior , it is incentivized.
For the public, commuters should always write down the identification markings of public conveyance vehicles they enter and make phone calls to loved ones to pass on the information. In the case of Iniobong Umoren mentioned earlier, the fact that she confided in her friend about the phone number of the person that invited her for an interview was instrumental in apprehending the culprit.
Most ritual murderers always wish to be unidentified. They want to kill people but do not wish to be apprehended. Once information about them has been exposed to someone else, it becomes difficult for them to remain anonymous and perpetrate evil.
Commuters should also assess public transport vehicles before boarding in order not to board vehicles occupied by hoodlums. I advise ladies to carry whistles on them to raise the alarm if there is an attempt to abduct them.
In addition to these, people should avoid staying in isolated areas where criminals can quickly attack without being noticed, and everybody should be conscious of their immediate environment.
The spate of ritual killings has become so problematic that our political leaders should declare a national emergency on the crises. I call for stiffer jail sentences to deter potential perpetrators from engaging in ritual killings. Citizens should have trust and confidence to motivate them towards providing credible intelligence for security operators.
We should also make good use of whistleblowers. These are invisible law-abiding citizens whose primary function is to disseminate information that provides details towards the arrest of suspected ritual murderers. They should be anonymous, and the law-enforcement institution should not reveal them as their link persons.
The fight against ritual killings and other menaces in our society is for all. We should not rest until we create a culture where we always uphold the sanctity of life at all cost and the safety of everyone is guaranteed irrespective of social status, religion, or ethnic background. This task calls for authentic leadership. We must swim or sink together . Our only option is to swim to survive the social disaster we are becoming as a nation because of the collapse of morality, ethics, and law.
Yesterday a posted an article entitled ‘Curbing the menace of ritual killings in the southwestern states‘. Appropriate as it was to draw the attention of our readers to this worrisome and frightening situation, it nevertheless seems useful to paint a more general picture of the security situation in Sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country.
Everyday Nigerians are facing an extremely dangerous situation consisting of political and criminal violence, ritual murders (‘money-rituals’), abductions, kidnappings, ransom cases, by terrorists, bandits, political thugs, ritual killers, cultists, criminals, and traditional herdsmen. A personal experience in this respect may illustrate the foregoing.
A couple of years ago I visited Nigeria for professional reasons. My employer, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, had made the use of a special, armored car mandatory for government officials when traveling in Abuja or the rural areas. The only other countries with a similar precaution and obligation were Iraq and Afghanistan. No wonder, that last year the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranked Nigeria the third most dangerous county on earth, after Afghanistan and Iraq.
Therefore, I consider it useful to get to know the observations and warnings of Dr. Ona Ekhomu, a well-known Nigerian security expert, when reading about and analyzing ritual murders in the Nigeria. As repeatedly said before, Nigeria ranks number One with respect to ritual murders in Africa, but this should nevertheless be judged against the background of an alarming security situation in general (webmaster FVDK).
Insecurity: Government must keep its end in this social contract, says Security expert, Dr. Ona Ekhomu
Published: January 2, 2021 By: The Guardian News, Nigeria
I REALISTICALLY expect the security situation in Nigeria to worsen this year. Given that the national and sub-national governments have not taken the time to understand the scope of threat and risk spectrum, there is no serious effort to resolve the security conundrum.
The authorities have continued to rely on intuitive thinking in a situation that requires critical thinking and complex problem-structuring and problem-solving methodologies.
Therefore, the security situation will worsen because a wound that is not treated becomes an ulcer. In research design, we say that past is prologue to the future. So, what is the evidence of insecurity in Nigeria? Amnesty International recently published that in the first six months of last year, over 1,126 persons were killed mostly in the rural areas where “the authorities have left communities at the mercy of rampaging gunmen.”
According to Dataphyte Nigeria, over 70,000 Nigerians have been killed in the last nine years in acts of criminal violence. The Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency has killed over 37,500 persons, displaced 2.5 million and created 244,000 refugees. In the first quarter of 2019, Nigeria recorded over 685 kidnap for ransom cases.
Clearly, this statistic will pale into insignificance when you consider 4th quarter of last year, where in one fell swoop, over 344 students were abducted in Kankara, Katsina State.
In December alone, about 26 travelers were seized by bandits along Benin-Auchi road and marched into the forest at Igieduma in Edo State. The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, at the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council meeting in Abuja in November last year, warned that the security situation in northern Nigeria had gotten out of hand and bandits (terrorists) had overrun the region.
He said in some parts of the north, bandits walk around openly carrying AK47 rifles without being challenged by security agents. The Sultan revealed that 76 persons were killed in a Sokoto community, yet it went unreported. The frequency of kidnappings, killings, murders had become high that it was not news worthy anymore.
The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) for last year ranked Nigeria the third most terrorism impacted nation on earth. With this ranking, Nigeria is rubbing shoulders with Afghanistan and Iraq.
The security scorecard for Nigeria last year is very poor. Government performed below expectation in its most important duty of keeping citizens safe, as kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, cultists, ritual killers and political thugs had a field day at the expense of citizens.
The Northwest terrorism (euphemistically referred to as banditry) intensified with several communities in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger, Kaduna and Sokoto states deserted due to incessant attacks and wanton killings and kidnappings by the aggressors. The so-called bandits have resorted to levying farmers millions of naira to harvest their farms. The situation in the Northwest is likely to trigger a food crisis in Nigeria this year.
In the Northeast region, Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency continued to flourish, with terrorists attacking targets at will and shedding blood of innocent citizens without compunction.
The chief driver of insecurity in Nigeria is the incapacity of security agencies to prevent attacks against soft targets. The philosophy of the security agencies is to take casualties and then counter-attack.
The agencies are supposed to design an architecture that will prevent attacks in the first place. However, due to severe resource constraints and leadership factors, they adopt the counter-punch strategy. In other words, the authorities are adopting a law enforcement approach to a terrorist threat.
In dealing with terrorism, the best approach is prevention and disruption of plots. Any time a terrorist attack occurs, the effects are devastating. Every incident of terror (mass kidnap of travelers, mass abduction of school children, suicide bombing, roadside bombing, attack on traditional rulers on the highway, brutal rape of female travelers, killing of farmers in the bush, even cannibalism by killer herdsmen, etc.) is a statement of grave insecurity.
Many Nigerians avoid road travels because of fear of terrorist attacks along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, Lokoja-Okene highway or Benin-Auchi highway. These are killing fields where bandits emerge from the foliage and open fire on total strangers, not a targeted attack to rob them and then kidnap the survivors of the initial attack for ransom. Those unable to pay ransom are liable to be executed. In some instances, ransom is paid and the victim is killed.
The unfortunate trends in insecurity will continue and probably be exacerbated. What are the trends? There would be an increase in highway kidnappings. It is a low risk and high yield venture that government does not seem willing to confront head on.
There would be an intensification of Northwest banditry, as the vast landscape is largely ungoverned. A situation where bandits could hide 344 students in Rugu Forest is unfortunate.
The Northeast insurgency is likely to intensify. The new leadership of ISWAP is quite bloodthirsty and would continue to tax communities and kill persons without justification.
Attacks on Army Supercamps by ISWAP will continue. Having succeeded in overrunning military bases and posts, the terrorists would take on the more hardened targets, like Supercamps.
Ansaru terrorist attacks would multiply and flourish in Kaduna and Kogi states. These terrorists are likely to infiltrate south into Edo and Delta states. Security planners in those South-South states are urged to be forward thinking.
The epidemic of terrorist violence would continue with piracy and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region. The IPOB agitators would continue to attack Police personnel and soft targets in the Southeast.
Cult violence would continue to claim lives in Edo, Delta, Rivers and Cross River states. Ritual killings would continue to flourish in the Southwest states.
The following article sounds unreal. Reading it, one wonders if this can be true. Is it gossip, rumor, fantasy, or indeed the reality? The article dates from July 2014 whereas many ritualistic acts described date from much further back, even 2007.
I will return to this page and add more shortly.
Warning: some images and description of ritualistic acts may be shocking (webmaster FVDK).
Horror: ritual killings everywhere in spite of civilization
Published: July 12, 2014 By: Vanguard, Nigeria – Evelyn Usman and Ebun Sessou
Looking curiously as this reporter approached her make-shift restaurant around J4 , Aketegbo community in Seme Badagry area of Lagos two weeks ago, mama Rilwan as she is popularly called, stood up from her seat, apparently thinking the stranger had come to patronize her.’ ki lefe ra? (what do you want to buy ?) she asked.
But when this writer disclosed her mission, the seeming expectation on her face dropped, giving way to a sad expression of a memory she never wishes to recall. She immediately beckoned on two teenagers later discovered to be her children to take over the stand while she went inside the shop, with this reporter following with caution.
After a long silence accompanied with a long stare at this reporter, she said: “ I recognize you now. You were here in 2007 when the incident that threw my entire life upside down occurred. My son, Rilwan would have been 20 years this month (June), had he not been sent to an early grave by my neighbor. He was my first child and also my back bone”.
Tried as she could to control her emotion as she spoke, her strength failed her. Tears trickled down her cheeks.
All was going on well for the food vendor until September 1, 2007, when her son , Rilwan, was reported missing. Three days later, his remains were found with the throat slashed, signifying that he could have been a victim of ritual killing which was said to be common in the area.
Accusing finger was pointed at one Muyideen Salam whose shop was close to the deceased’s mother’s place. He was said to have been seen with the deceased before his disappearance. After much persuasion which took a brutal dimension, Muyideen confirmed everyone’s fears, by confessing that he killed Rilwan and used his blood for money ritual.
In an interview with Sunday Vanguard at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba , seven years ago (published October 7, 2007) the then 35 year-old Muyideen gave a chilling account of how he gruesomely murdered the teenager and drained his blood, with the help of his friend, one Nuru.
Strange as this sounded, Muyideen disclosed that he was sent to get the blood of a virgin by a herbalist with which to prepare the concoction he would use to bath for nine days, after which he would become rich.
But he never lived to see his devilish wish come true ,even though he succeeded in killing the teenager. This was as a result of his arrest by policemen at Seme division. He was convicted for murder.
Muyideen’s startling confession was, no doubt, a reflection of a society that is fast becoming bestial. Killing of human beings for rituals or whatever reason, dates back to the ancient times when people used to appease the gods of the land with human blood and for the purpose of winning wars. Twins, who were considered an abomination, were killed until its abolition through Mary Slessor’s missionary works.
One would have expected that such pseudoscience should rather be imagined than witnessed in Nigeria in this 21st century, when other countries of the world are experimenting and advancing in technology. More baffling is the fact that some Nigerians still indulge in such superstitious process of ritual killings in spite of the escalation of religious groups across the country as well as the exposure of majority of the populace to education and Western culture.
Sadly, even some acclaimed high and mighty indulge in ritual killings. Some politicians and government officials have been accused by arrested suspects (and herbalists), alleging that they use human beings for rituals in order to sustain their affluence as well as to remain in power. Records also show that cases of ritual killings and subsequent disappearance of persons are usually on the increase whenever elections are around the corner.
In Lagos state for instance, about fifteen cases of kidnap attempts have reportedly been recorded in the last four months. One of the foiled attempts was at Ori-oke, in Ejigbo local council development area, two months ago, where a woman who kidnapped two primary school pupils was heard describing them as goods to an unknown person on the phone.
The saddest part of this evil act is that hundreds of victims of ritual murders only get mentioned as missing persons. While some manage, by sheer stroke of providence to escape the slaughters’ slab, others never live to share their ordeal with any person.
Investigation by Saturday Vanguard revealed that agents of these vampires who hide in forests and other unknown places are spread across the country, lying in wait like a hungry lion for their preys. Majority of their victims are innocent school children, poor street hawkers, commercial sex workers, stranded visitors and unsuspecting commuters.
Watch out for these black spots
Investigation carried out by Saturday Vanguard showed that black spots where these agents prowl include areas like Otta, Ibafo and Mowe , all in Ogun state, Epe, Ikorodu, Shagamu Road Isheri/Olowo Ira,Cele Express along Oshodi/Apapa Expressway, Badagry axis, Ikeja, Toyota Bus-stop, Mile Two, Ajah,all in Lagos State; Lagos / Ibadan Express Road; Lagos/Benin by-pass in Edo State; Igwurita ,Rumuokoro in Port Harcourt, Rivers state; Ilorin/Oro Road in Kwara state; Lokoja, Abuja Highway in Kogi State and River Kaduna. Other areas are bush paths, markets, lonely environments, hotels and brothels, popular bus stopovers or terminals, and other hot spots across the country.
Some of these agents, most times disguise as lunatics. A typical case in mind was that Clifford Orji who was arrested under the bridge at Toyota Bus-stop along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos with human parts in 2001. He confessed to be selling human parts to prominent Nigerians who undoubtedly used them for ritual purposes. The amazing thing about this peculiar case was the fact that Orji who later died while in Prison custody, was presumed a lunatic. Unknown to passers-by, he only masqueraded as a mad man in order to achieve his sinister motives.
Investigations further revealed that one of their ways is to attack job seekers. They print fliers for recruitment. Some even go the extra mile to advertise for vacancies in national dailies. They then send text messages or email to applicants, informing that they have been listed for the job and will be invited for interviews. In many cases, hotels turn out to be the venues for the interviews. At this point, if the prospective applicant gets to the designated hotel, he/she will reportedly be hypnotized and thereafter taken to the slaughter’s slab which is usually in the bush or some remote places. At other times, an applicant will be informed that the venue for interview has changed on reaching the hotel, from where they will provide a vehicle, which unknown to the applicants, have been sprayed with substance that automatically puts them to sleep.
Barely four months ago, Nigerians received with shock, news of a den in Soka village, Oluyole Local Government area of Oyo state, where about 20 corpses, majority of which were declared missing by their relatives were found and 18 victims were rescued. From all indications, it was obvious that the den has been existing for long before it was uncovered, following a heap of victims’ clothes. One of the rescued victims was reported to have said he was kidnapped in Ogun while attending an interview.
The most celebrated ritual killing in the recent past was the notorious Otokoto saga in Owerri, Imo State where a businessman belonging to a cult was alleged to have used his apprentice for ritual. The boy’s corpse was later exhumed at the premises of Otokoto Hotel. It exposed many other bizarre acts in hotels.
Investigation shows that female parts are more in demand than their male counterparts. This is because of what was described as the potency of some parts like the breasts and lower private parts in money rituals and other purposes by herbalists and occult groups.
Virgins and babies on the other hand are also reportedly used by some politicians and government officials for ritual purposes as their blood is said to be used to elongate the user’s life span as well as fortify them against spiritual attacks.
Security hints at Saturday’s Vanguard’s disposal reveal that sometimes, these ‘celebrities’ employ the services of some restaurant owners, hotel operators and their trusted domestic workers to get them virgins who are subsequently murdered for ritual purposes. Majority of girls who have fallen prey to these death traps were discovered to be secondary school students as well as those in tertiary institutions as they were at the initial stage carried away by money and expensive gifts from their assailants.
A particular case in mind was that of a South-West politician alleged to have been caught by his driver with a dissected day-old baby whose blood he was drinking. The incident as reported two years ago, occurred inside a bush, while the driver was taking his boss (names withheld) to a purported function. Half way into the journey, the politician was said to have ordered his driver to pull over.
He thereafter, alighted and headed for a bush with a promise to be back. Having waited without any sight of his boss, the ignorant and curious driver reportedly went in search for him,only to meet him stark naked and pouring the blood of a dissected baby into his mouth. Barely two weeks later, the driver reportedly died under mysterious circumstance. The event that occurred before his death was related by a Pastor friend whom the deceased confided in before his demise.
The lust for money and power drives these people into ritual killings.
While some kill to achieve this unfathomable dream, others resort to digging graves and removing needed human parts for ritual purpose. Saturday Vanguard scooped that most guards at cemeteries connive with agents to sell human parts.
It was learnt that if a fresh human head is needed, an agent will contact some cemetery workers ahead. In this case, the cemetery official will be on the look out for fresh dead bodies, preferably those of Muslims who are usually buried within 24 hours after death. Immediately the body is interred, cemetery worker will exhume the body at night, cut off the needed parts and place the body back in the grave.
Human parts for sale
Those who patronize cemetery officials are usually herbalists, herbal traders and even prominent Nigerians who usually use middle men. Surprisingly, human parts are sold in some markets in Nigeria. We gathered that a fresh human head could go for N60,000 and above, while a skull is sold for N20,000. Fresh legs are sold for N30,000 each while a decomposed leg is sold for N20,000. A fresh finger is sold for N5,000 each while the decomposed is sold for 3,000. Fresh intestines are sold for N20,000 while dry ones are sold for N5000. Pieces of fresh bones are sold for N2,000 and above.
Five months ago, the Oyo State Police Command, arrested a Muslim cleric, one Alfa Gbolagade Dauda Ileanwo, in Agbaje area of Ibadan with three human skulls and charms. The suspect, according to the command, confessed that he had been in the trade for ten years. Though he claimed to be using the human parts for concoctions to assist sterile women, his accomplice, Saheed Azeez, countered the claim, stating rather that his boss was into money making rituals.
The command also arrested two other suspected ritual killers,Musa Dauda and Sango Olojo-Onile with a human head and two heel bones. During interrogation, Dauda revealed that the human parts were removed from a grave at Ojetete village, Kisi, for money ritual.
Olojo-Onile according to the command was arrested in April with a fresh head of a woman which still had cotton wool stuck inside the ears.
Also in Epe, the lifeless body of a 68-year-old man,Ade Lekuti, earlier declared missing was discovered at Owode, near Ogombo in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, with the head, hands and private organs cut off.
Surprisingly, the alleged killer was discovered to be his in-law, one Teju Rajimu. The suspect according to the deceased’s family, confessed to have given the missing parts to a herbalist who prepared concoction with them for him. The missing parts were reportedly pounded into powdery form and mixed with a greasy substance which was discovered in the suspect’s apartment.
Similarly, in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, a three-man gang led by one Kamaru Yusuf allegedly beheaded one Omobola Moses at Ira, a village in Oyun Local Government Area. The deceased who was a niece to one of the suspects, was reportedly lured from her parents’ abode into a bush where her head was severed. The suspects, according to report, confessed that they took the head to a 52-year-old herbalist whose name they gave as Saliu Oyewole, for money ritual.
From the West to the East and North to the South , the story is same.
In Enugu state for instance, an evil forest suspected to be a den for killers was discovered in Igbo Eze North local government area with fresh and decomposing human parts littered all over,with vital parts of some bodies missing.
Report said the victims were taken to the forest and butchered by killers who then removed the vital parts needed for money-making rituals. Some prominent citizens of the state and environs were alleged to be patrons of herbalists and native doctors who perform rituals in the forest.
One of the mind bugling incidents was the discovery of another horror sight at the Okija shrine in Anambra state. The shrine achieved notoriety in 2004 when it was raided by the Anambra State Police Command ,where 50 decomposing or shrunken bodies and 20 human skulls were found. The shrine was also reportedly patronised by politicians. Till date, politicians still visit Okija shrine.
It is tragic enough that some Nigerians still believe in gaining power and making money through this practice. But more worrisome and astonishing is the use of loved ones, such as one’s parents, siblings and wives for this devilish purpose. One of such horrifying incidents occurred in Abia state, when a 26 year-old boy allegedly killed his mother for ritual. The suspect,Ebi Onu, who hailed from Igbere, Bende council area of the state, reportedly went to Nguzu Edda in Ebonyi State where he consulted a herbalist to make charms that would make him become rich. The herbalist was said to have asked Ebi to kill his mother and bring her private part which he said would be used to prepare concoction for him. He allegedly connived with three of his friends to lay ambush for his mother along a bush path and lured his mother into taking a walk with him along that route. On sighting them, his killer friends reportedly sprang out from their hiding and hacked Ebi’s mother to death after which they cut off her private part .
Worried by her disappearance, a search party with Ebi reportedly combed the vicinity for her without luck. Report said some of the residents said they saw the missing woman with her son and consequently Ebi was subjected to questioning and tortured by some youths until he allegedly owned up and took the youths to where he buried his mother at the bank of a river . The angry youths were said to have beaten him to death , thereby depriving him of living to see his inordinate ambition of becoming rich through ritual means.
In the same vein, residents of Bale Ilado village in Morogbo area of Lagos State were thrown into panic recently after a member of the community identified as Segun Adisa allegedly beheaded his own father for money ritual .
However, in his confessional statement to the Police, the suspect claimed that he had to strike first to prevent his father whom he claimed earlier took him to a shrine where he claimed there was an attempt to kill him for money ritual.
Again in Aba, a landlord was alleged to have killed his two children for ritual purpose. The landlord (names withheld) as gathered, dashed out of his three-storey building on Omenazu road in Aba, on sighting some policemen approaching. Policemen from the Abia state command who acted on tip off, were said to have swooped on the building and according to residents of the area , two unconscious children identified as his children were found inside one of the rooms transfixed.
Not too long ago in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , the body of a lady was found in the boot of a Honda car with plate number AG 847 SUL belonging to an Abuja based businessman whose identity was given as Abdullai Ibrahim. The suspect was said to have been arrested by policemen on patrol while he was cleaning the blood stain on the back seat of the car. Preliminary investigation, according to police sources, revealed that the suspect slit the deceased’s throat with a knife for alleged ritual purpose.
In Kaduna state, three youths were reported in 2007 to have lured a 17 year-old sugarcane hawker, Ibrahim Shehu, to the outskirts of a village and strangled him. They were said to have been at the verge of removing his eyes when policemen that were alerted by a farmer swooped on them. The suspects, according to the Kaduna State Police Command, confessed to have wanted to pluck out the eyes for money ritual.
Same year in Ibafo area of Ogun state, a woman who managed to escape from a kidnappers den alerted policemen led by one Charles Ogenegbe, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who stormed the hideout , where a shrine used as slaughter for human beings was discovered.
Also same year in Benue, a 77 year-old woman identified as Adiya Omachi was murdered in her farmland at Odaleko, along Ikachi Adum road. Not done , her assailants reportedly slashed her private parts, signifying they could be ritualists.
In Niger state, three persons were arrested by the police for allegedly beheading a 10-year-old boy in Amale Village, Kaffi-koro District, Paiko local government area of the state for ritual.
The deceased as gathered, was lured by one Salleh Ibrahim who took him on his motorcycle from Amale village to meet two of his other accomplices: Usman Sarki and Dantala Doma. During interrogation, Sarki told policemen that he was contracted by one Gajere to bring the boy’s head for money ritual. The lad’s headless body was reportedly found in Salleh’s residence while the head was found buried in a shallow grave near Erena in Shiroro local government, pending when they would take it to the herbalist.
If the startling confession of 20 year-old Agu Nwanu, who disclosed that he had so far killed twenty children for money rituals, all in his bid to ensure he does not end up like his poor father must be taken seriously, then all hands must be on deck to address this rising incident of ritual killings. Security operatives appear to be doing their best to curb these evil and very primitive rituals. But their best appears not to be enough as the menace is on the increase going by daily reports of these killings.
When the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide was contacted on the spate of ritual killings, she said about Lagos.
“I will disagree with you on the issue of ritual killing being on the increase in Lagos state. There has not been any of such since my assumption. Sometime last year and about two months ago ,we paraded some suspects for being in possession of human parts. The arrests were effected by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad and the suspects were arrested from other states.
“During interrogation, we discovered they had same modus operandi. They always go to the grave yard to exhume corpses. It’s something they commit in connivance with the security men at the cemetery. And the buyers, comprising the native doctors and other persons will be there.
“Let me state here that the Police as security agents do not believe in mystics. We work with facts and physical evidence. So, when you say people indulge in rituals, we do not understand that language.
What we have also recorded are cases of persons suspected to be kidnappers who were attacked by the mob. It happened at Apapa, Iyana-Ipaja , Shahsha areas . In Shahsha, a man was sighted with a little child in his car and they accused him of wanting to use the child for money ritual and a mob attacked him, without giving him room to explain himself. But for the quick intervention of the traditional ruler of the area who contacted policemen, the man would have been lynched.
“On interrogation, it was discovered that parents of the child begged him to help drop the child in school and on the way, he started crying. We invited the parents who collaborated the claim. If they had killed him, the news would have been all over the place that a ritualist was mobbed.
“Another case was of an elderly woman at Ajegunle who was seen with a day old baby. Before you knew it, people rounded her up and started beating her, claiming she wanted to use the baby for ritual. The local government chairman contacted the police who rescued the woman who said she was the grandmother of the baby and that her daughter just gave birth but was in an unstable condition in the hospital. What we did was to invite the doctor of the hospital who collaborated her claim . The doctor said he advised the woman to take the baby home while they tried to stabilise the mother. I want to use this medium to advise Lagosians not to engage in mob actions.
“On our part, we have a lot of overt and covert policemen in strategic places in the state, considering the nature of security in the country right now. We have tried to cover up sensitive places like churches, schools, motor parks among other places and we have enough security men.”